Perceieved gaffes by Mitt Romney during his overseas jaunt have invited probing into his foreign policy chops.
The Washington Post wondered why, unlike other state governors, he didn’t use his time in Massachusetts to make the state’s case abroad.
Mass. was depressed, a spokeswoman said, and needed his attention.
That surprised Romney’s GOP predecessor in the job, William Weld, who said a) he enjoyed the trips b) he learned lots and c) he helped generate income for the state.
Much of the article has to do with Israel trips — the single one Romney planned as governor was to Israel in 2005, and he canceled it after critics said he was wasting the people’s time in a bid to look presidential ahead of his first run for the White House. (I know, right — you can’t win!)
But this, from Weld’s account, stuck out:
"We had six trips to Israel. Bibi Netanyahu and Shimon Peres are both great friends of mine.”
Weld said that he had a “long suit on Israel” and recalled how “I would go out with Bibi and Ehud Olmert . . . sort of the young coming-Likud members of the Knesset, and we would go pub crawling. That was just very exciting.”
I’m trying to get my head around this one. Netanyahu and Olmert were, at the time (the early 1990s), yes, young Likud princes. But here’s the thing: even then, they couldn’t stand one another. Weld must have a talent for bringing folks together in social settings.
Here’s another tidbit, anticipating the current flap over whether to call Jerusalem Israel’s capital:
Romney, like many presidential candidates before him, has said that Jerusalem should be Israel’s capital. Weld opened a trade office in Jerusalem, announcing, “It’s nice to be here in the capital of Israel,” which didn’t sit well with the George H. W. Bush administration.
“I got back and the first call was from Mario Cuomo. ‘Governor, what are you doing? You’re killing me. Now I’ve got to open an office over there,’ ” Weld recalled the former governor of New York saying.